Every Premier League club’s cult hero on Carlton Cole and Shola Ameobi birthday

Fans of each Premier League club have managed to find cult heroes that transcend form on the playing field – with the likes of Carlton Cole and Shola Ameobi among those to connect with supporters.

While the goalscoring megastars and iconic captains are the ones that make the most difference on the pitch, all football clubs have those that catch the eye in other ways.

From helping out with local charities to stepping up on the biggest of stages, sometimes a single moment can secure a lifelong fondness with an entire fanbase.

Daily Star Sport have now taken a look at one club hero from each club during their time in the Premier League, with one current star making the cut.

Arsenal – Nwankwo Kanu

Although Arsenal fans will likely name Thierry Henry or Dennis Bergkamp as the most important players in the history of the club, not many are as memorable as Nwankwo Kanu.

The 6ft 6in Nigeria international joined the Gunners from Inter Milan back in 1999, going on to score 30 goals in 119 appearances for the club as well as making 53 appearances in Europe.

Kanu won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with the north London side, and was named the African Footballer of the Year in 1999.

Aston Villa – Juan Pablo Angel

Juan Pablo Angel joined Aston Villa from River Plate back in 2001 and would go on to connect with supporters by scoring 16 goals across his first full season.

The Colombia international had more miserable seasons that impressive ones in front of goal during his time in England, but did smash home 16 in the league alone in 2003/04.

On departing for New York Red Bulls in 2007, he had managed 44 goals across 175 Premier League appearances.

Brentford – Sergi Canos

Brentford may have only played seven Premier League matches in total, but they have a string of players who has already endeared themselves to supporters.

Sergi Canos joined the club from Norwich back in 2017, and had the best pedigree possible thanks to his three years in the academy at Barcelona and another three at Liverpool.

The 24-year-old forward has made 215 appearances for the club in total, scoring his first for them in the top fight against Arsenal on the opening day.

Brighton – Bruno

Bruno Saltor was already a Brighton hero before their promotion to the Premier League under Chris Hughton during the 2016/17 Championship campaign.

The ever-reliable right-back stayed around for two top-flight seasons despite his advancing age, eventually calling time on his career at the age of 38 in 2019.

The Spaniard made a total of 235 appearances for the club, and is now a senior player development coach.

Burnley – Ashley Barnes

Ashley Barnes has proved to be a constant threat for Burnley since joining from Brighton back in 2014.

He has been around for seven Premier League seasons as well as a promotion from the Championship, and score a total of 46 goals across 231 outings.

His greatest campaign came during 2018/19, when he smashed home 12 times in the league.

Chelsea – Gianfranco Zola

Gianfranco Zola may have left Chelsea before their Premier League success begun under Jose Mourinho, but he ran the show at Stamford Bridge between 1996 and 2003.

The former Napoli and Parma playmaker turned out 229 times for the club in the league, scoring 59 goals and helping them to two FA Cup triumphs.

Zola returned as assistant boss back in 2018/19, and his number 25 has not been reworn.

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Crystal Palace – Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson may have only appeared in one Premier League season for Crystal Palace during his four-years at the club, but what a memorable personal campaign that was.

He scored an impressive 21 goals in the league as the Eagles slipped to relegation, scoring 11 times from his 11 attempts from the penalty spot.

Johnson went on to have solid campaigns with Everton and Fulham, returning to Palace in 2014 before retiring.

Everton – Duncan Ferguson

Premier League fans were reminded of Everton's love affair with Duncan Ferguson in 2019 as he took on the caretaker role at the club and oversaw a win over Chelsea.

The former Scotland international made 239 Premier League appearances for the club across two spells between 1994 and 2006, scoring 60 goals.

Ferguson also helped them to FA Cup glory in 1995, which remains their most recent trophy.

Leeds United – Lucas Radebe

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Lucas Radebe joined Leeds from Kaizer Chiefs back in 1994, and would remain at the club until his retirement in 2005.

He made a total of 198 Premier League appearances before their relegation, taking part in 10 top flight seasons without scoring single goal.

The South Africa hero was a consistent presence in their defence, and Nelson Mandela one said that Radebe was his hero.

Leicester – Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy is not only a cult hero at Leicester, he will go down as one of the most memorable strikers in Premier League history for more reason than one.

Not only did he fire them to the league title back in 2015/16, but that crowned a rise from non-league football across just five seasons.

He also holds the record of most consecutive Premier League games scored in with 11, surpassing Ruud Van Nistelrooy's record of 10.

Liverpool – Divock Origi

Liverpool have had countless icons at the club both before and after the founding of the Premier League, but in their recent years of success there has been one stand-out cult hero.

Divock Origi has seemed content in playing a back-up role to Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino since Jurgen Klopp founded that trio.

And despite that, he scored crucial goals in their Champions League victory in 2018/19 and hit four on their way to the title the following year.

Manchester City – Shaun Goater

Shaun Goater may have only made 52 Premier League appearances for the club during his five seasons there, but he remains one of their most-loved players despite their change in fortunes.

Goater scored 13 goals in the top flight for the club, and scored the fastest goal by a substitute in Premier League history after just nine seconds.

Although Sergio Aguero and David Silva have been among those to surpass his achievements, Goater will always be remembered by their supporters.

Manchester United – Diego Forlan

Big things were expected of Diego Forlan on his move to Manchester United from Independiente, but he never truly found his best form under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Despite that, he was loved by the Old Trafford faithful before leaving to join Villarreal in 2004, and took a Premier League winners' medal with him.

The Uruguay hero managed just 10 league goals for the club across 63 league outings.

Newcastle – Shola Ameobi

Shola Ameobi spent a total of 19 years at Newcastle United between 1995 and 2014, making 290 Premier League appearances and scoring 43 goals.

Not including 2009/10, Ameobi played his part in 13 top-flight seasons at St James Park, and lifted the iconic Intertoto Cup in 2006.

The former Nigeria international spent time with Crystal Palace and Bolton towards the end of his career, but will always be remembered for his loyalty to the Toon.

Norwich – Grant Holt

Grant Holt fired Norwich to back-to-back promotions to get them into the Premier League for the 2011/12 campaign, and went on to score 15 in his debut top-flight season.

Holt proved to be a nuisance for defenders in both League One and the Championship before finding his feet at the highest level, netting another eight the following season.

On leaving for Wigan in 2013, Holt had scored 68 league goals in 154 appearances for Norwich, with 23 across 70 in the Premier League

Southampton – Rickie Lambert

Rickie Lambert fired Southampton to back-to-back promotions into the Premier League for the 2012/13 season, and had a fine record in front of goal when they got there.

He scored 15 goals in 2012/13 and another 13 in 2013/14, earning his dream move to Liverpool.

Lambert's form also earned him an England call-up, and he scored three times across his 11 appearances thanks to his Southampton heroics.

Tottenham – Ledley King

Ledley King played only for Tottenham Hotspur during a professional career that was blighted by injuries between 1999 and 2012.

Many consider King to be the most talented defender of his generation, but he was unable to play more than 26 games in a league season across the final six years of his career.

King remains a member of staff at the club 10 years after he retired, and has also been tipped as a future manager of the club.

Watford – Troy Deeney

Troy Deeney played in six Premier League seasons for Watford between 2015 and 2021, netting 47 goals and creating another 20 from his 165 appearances.

After helping them into the top flight with 21 Championship goals in 2014/15, they stayed there until 2020/21 before returning at the first attempt.

Falling out of favour at the start of the season, emotions ran high as he left to join Birmingham after 11 years with the Hornets.

West Ham – Carlton Cole

Carlton Cole left Chelsea for West Ham back in 2006, and stayed with the Hammers until 2013.

The former England striker made 216 Premier League appearances for the club in total, scoring 41 goals and helping them back up during their Championship season of 2011/12.

Cole went on to play for Celtic before retiring in 2017, and is now a regular pundit.

Wolves – George Elokobi

George Elokobi played for Wolves between 2008 and 2014, playing his part in three Premier League seasons and three in the Championship as well as one in League One.

The 35-year-old regularly speaks about his time at the club with fondness, having made 58 top-flight appearances and scored two goals while helping to keep eight clean sheets.

The hard-hitting defender has scored in every division from the Premier League to the National League South, and is still going with Maidstone United.

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